The World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo is 127 years old this year.
The Payson rodeo began in 1884 and was known as the August Doin’s, it is a world famous event that will be held Aug. 19 through Aug. 21, says organizers.
Sanctioned by the Arizona Centennial Committee, this event is part of Arizona’s rich rodeo history and activities will feature everything from beautiful rodeo royalty to the large Shriner participation in the annual parade.
Named the country’s Best Small Rodeo (according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which sanctions the event, and recently named as the Official Best Small Town PRCA Rodeo in the West by True West Magazine in 2009), it continues to attract the best of the best from all over the world to compete for substantial prize money.
Rodeo performances start at 7 p.m., Friday and continue at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday night and 1 p.m., Sunday. Gates open two hours prior to the performances.
Friday is the Tough Enough to Wear Pink night, which raises funds for local breast cancer support groups in conjunction with Wrangler’s Susan B. Komen program.
Saturday evening is the Patriot Performance, honoring returning, fallen and wounded veterans with a special tribute during the rodeo. Sunday is Family Day.
Tickets are available at the gate or online at www.paysonrimcountry.com/augustdoins. Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for kids 8-12.
The three-day rodeo festivities include the 2011 August Doin’s Rodeo Parade, themed “Western Leather and Lace.” It will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 20 on Historic Main Street in Payson.
The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Steve Coury Automotive Family, KMOG, Gila County Mounted Posse, and Kiwanis of Zane Grey Country sponsor the parade. It will include the famous APS clowns, rodeo queens and their courts, Ronald McDonald, the Payson High School Band, local floats, riders, first responder teams and many other great entries from all over Arizona. Join in the fun when real cowboys and cowgirls strut their stuff, along with the floats, cars, tractors, teams, bands and units of the El Zaribah Shriners.
The parade will be led by a Marine Honor Guard on horseback, and will go east from Green Valley Park to Sawmill Crossing.
Announcers along the route will be Fred Carpenter at the Community Presbyterian Church, Eddie Armer at the Senior Center and Michael Rose at the Pine Country Animal Clinic. They will keep parade goers posted on the coming entries, and provide music. So, bring a chair, water and the kids and enjoy a great morning.
There is still time to get an entry in the parade — applications are due by Aug. 13. For parade applications, go to the chamber or to www.rimcountrychamber.com.
After party and dance
Adding to the fun on Friday and Saturday night you can kick up your heels at the Payson Pro Rodeo after party and dance at the Payson Event Center, home to the rodeo arena. The featured group, Western Fusion Band, will begin playing at 9 p.m. each night and there is a $5 cover charge, which begins at 8 p.m.
The first rodeos in Payson provided local ranchers and cowhands a chance to get together and compare their roping skills during the annual “down time” before the big fall roundup.
There were only a couple of events in those early rodeos, but it was not long before cowboys from all over the state and beyond were showing up to compete in new events like bronc busting, bull riding, steer roping and even horse and foot racing.
Early Payson rodeos were not held in fancy arenas. In fact, the original venue was a meadow near the intersection of Main Street and Highway 87/the Beeline. Wagons and later autos created barriers to form the “arena.”
Come join the fun and experience the place where rodeo began over 127 years ago in Payson — Arizona’s Cool Mountain Town.
For more information, call (928) 474-9440 or go online to www.paysonrimcountry.com/